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Monday, July 2, 2012

Questions about Modi

The article Mr. Narendra Modi, you have a choice was published at the Indian Muslim Observer (http://www.indianmuslimobserver.com/2012/06/latest-editorial-mr-narendra-modi-you.html) has generated a lot of questions. Here is a summary of the questions and my responses.


Question: Do you think Mr. Modi will ever apologize for his misdeed of the 2002 Massacre? 
Ghouse: God gives an opportunity to his creation to repent and ask for forgiveness, it’s an act of easing out of the accumulated anguish (guilt), and restoring the spiritual and psychological balance from within. God is kind, merciful and extends the date for apology and gives a life time of opportunity to seek repentance. There are examples from Prophet Muhammad’s practice, where someone sought forgiveness on his last breath and prophet said, God will accepts that. However, God withholds judgment till the Day of Judgment. No one goes scot free; everyone bears the burden of his karma in one fashion or the other.
As Indians and as Indian Muslims we have many choices, some of them are:
Write him off as a man who would not apologize and engage in a life long battle with him in defeating at every opportunity and place. The down side is finding the resources and time for it.


Our time can be well spent in restoring the lives of the victims of the 2002 massacres. What Indians and Indian Muslims are seeking is justice to the people, and that really should be the bottom line and not Modi’s pound of flesh.


Forgive him unconditionally. A few Indian Muslims may oppose this off the bat even though the Qur’aan says clearly that Allah loves the person who forgives the most. There is wisdom in it and goes towards building a cohesive India that is good for all Indians.


When the Ulemas or religious and civic leaders gather in thousands, as they have done on different occasions, include forgiveness to Modi as one of the items of their agenda; let this be a highly publicized event with the media in full gear.
Invite the national media, and the key leaders from all communities including BJP leadership, let each one of them speak for five minutes about their take on forgiveness and its consequences.


Then at the appointed time, make the announcement that Muslims are forgiving the men involved in the 2002 Massacre including Modi and want to put this behind and focus on pulling the victims out of destitution and restore their hopes and lives. All speeches must be geared for national reconciliation and goodwill.   


Invite Mr. Modi to attend the program, don’t be disappointed, if he chooses not to participate, but if he does, honor him,  and let him know that Muslim are forgiving him as of now with no conditions.


Make an appeal to Modi.
Dear Narendra Bhai,

You have a moral responsibility to the well being of every citizen of Gujarat, whether they personally elected you or not, you still represent them.

Your fellow Gujaratis were massacred under your guardianship, and I hope you feel their pain and anguish.

Narendra Bhai, you have many choices; one among them is repentance, the praischit, and I urge you to seriously consider it. It is the Michami Dukadam of your life that is seeking forgiveness and forgiving others for any grudge you may harbor against others. Right now, you have a choice to start your spiritual and political life with a clean slate.

This means making good with the people who have suffered under your leadership; it will bring Mukti (salvation) to you. The other choice is to resign and show the strength of your character.

Your moral character in the only sustainable legacy you can leave behind, and not the wealth you create for a few. Gujarat has been around and will always be there with or without you, and I hope you are humble enough to see it.

You may consider working on earning genuine respect from every Gujarati, particularly the downtrodden living in the refugee camps. Uplift their lives. You will be uplifting a huge moral burden of fellow Guajarati and fellow Indians. Your honesty and integrity will be transparent in how you handle the situation.

As a leader of one of the industrially advanced states, you have a duty to establish Gujarat as a state that respects law, where justice will be served to every Gujarati, whether they live in a Jhompdi (Huts) or the castle. Every Indian should feel safe, as the law would take care of the wrong doers. You need to express your courage to speak up and follow dharma, the right path.

You can begin by mustering the courage to apologize to the citizens of Gujarat and restore their lives and bring justice to them. It will bring peace to every Gujarati and every Indian. It takes a man to do it, and I hope you are man enough to do it and turn things around for the 16000 men and women living in refugee camps. Do them good, restore their life and earn their goodwill. Once they see the results of restoration of a genuine man, they will forgive you and support you and, they will stand up for you, if you stand up for them.

Question:  Should a person like Modi who is known for his partisan role and
for being anti-minorities be projected as a candidate for Prime
Ministership of a secular and multi-religious country like India?
Ghouse: Yes, if he apologizes on his own, and there shall be no compulsion. Again, listen to the wisdom of Qur’aan, freewill endures, compulsion is short lived. Apology in words will not cut it, it has to be followed by action by uplifting the downtrodden living in the refugee camps and bringing a positive change in their lives. If their lives are restored and Muslims feel genuinely hopeful, then Modi should be given the chance. The bottom line is not revenge, but restoration of justice to the people to whom injustice was done.

Question: Prestigious "Time Magazine" and Brookings Institution have lauded
Modi in recent days. What do you think- was it not wrong on their part
to shower praises on such a controversial man known for caring a damn
about human rights and human values?

Ghouse: Times and Brookings institution failed in their responsibility to write an objective report, which is challenged anyway. Modi’s men are working diligently, spending the time and money to project Modi as the leader of India. I believe both the institutions were unduly influenced and have lost their respect for integrity. I wish Modi’s men had spent that money and time in helping the refugees out of the squalor and put them in homes.



Questions: Do you see the gulf between Hindus and Muslims in Gujarat will
narrow in near future?
Ghouse: Nothing will ever change if everyone sits around and expects miracles. Miracles will not happen. God helps those who help themselves, its God’s promise to mankind including Muslims. There are a number of things Muslims can do – develop good relationships with fellow Guajaratis. Get involved in the civic affairs of the state and be a part of everything every Gujarati does. Ask Muslim to write columns in how to improve the bonding and relationships with fellow Guajaratis. I will be happy to write it, but there are many out there. Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer and a Gujarati Doctor who lived in the United States are doing a great job in writings articles to bring the communities together. I just cannot think of his name now, but he and I have had correspondence once a year. He can really guide Muslims.
If there is a conflict, blame the individual and not the religion. It will contain the conflict to individual and will not spread. It is a culture that has to be developed and established, it will take some time.

Here was an advice from my father.
During the communal riots in Jabalpur in the early sixties, both Muslims and Hindus were killed in the mayhem. I wish every father in India, teaches the following lesson to his kids, as my father taught me. He told us that the "individuals" are responsible for the bloodshed and not the religions; he was very clear. He said, you cannot blame the nebulous understanding of religion and expect justice. The individuals responsible for disturbing the peace should be punished under the law, and a resolution to the conflict must result by serving justice. He said you cannot annihilate, kill, hang or beat a religion, then why bark at it? It is not the religion; it is the individual bad guys that are the problem.


Crime is always committed by the individuals, and each individual must be brought to justice to restore faith in the society. When you believe that your rights will be protected by your government, you feel safe and secure and that is how you build cohesive societies.
The role of a Muslim is to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill. If you study Prophet’s life from this point of view, you will see that was the main drive. I give a speech on the topic, Insha Allah, when I visit India, I will be happy to give a talk on the topic.. . . . . .
Mike Ghouse is an Indian Muslim American committed to building cohesive societies, in the Indian context he hopes no Indian has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of the other. Mike Ghouse is committed to building to offer pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. He is a professional speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, civic affairs, Islam, India, Israel, peace and justice. Mike is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News and regularly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. The blog www.TheGhousediary.com is updated daily.

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